Have a laugh…

I confess, I outright plagiarized this from another source, but it had been forwarded and reposted so many times, it’s impossible to identify who wrote the original. With gratitude to my friend Sharon Caballero for sending it to me, I pass it along to raise your spirits.


When this is over –
• Half of us are going to come out of this quarantine as amazing cooks. The other half will come out with a drinking problem.

• I used to spin that toilet paper like I was on Wheel of Fortune. Now I turn it like I’m cracking a safe.

• I need to practice social distancing from the refrigerator.

• Still haven’t decided where to go for Easter, the Living Room or The Bedroom

• PSA: Every few days try your jeans on just to make sure they fit. Pajamas will have you believe all is well in the kingdom.

• Homeschooling is going well. Two students suspended for fighting and one teacher fired for drinking on the job.

• I don’t think anyone expected that when we changed the clocks, we’d go from Standard Time to the Twilight Zone

• This morning I saw a neighbor talking to her cat. It was obvious she thought her cat understood her. I came into my house, told my dog; we laughed a lot.

• So, after this quarantine, will the producers of My 600 Pound Life just find me or do I find them?

• Quarantine Day 5: Went to this restaurant called THE KITCHEN. You have to gather all the ingredients and make your own meal. I have no clue how this place is still in business.

• My body has absorbed so much soap and disinfectant lately that when I pee it cleans the toilet.

• Day 5 of Homeschooling: One of these little monsters called in a bomb threat.

• I’m so excited; it’s time to take out the garbage. What should I wear?

• I hope the weather is good tomorrow for my trip to Puerto Backyarda. I’m getting tired of Los Livingroom.

• Classified Ad: Single man with toilet paper seeks woman with hand sanitizer for good clean fun.

• Day 6 of Homeschooling: My child just said “I hope I don’t have the same teacher next year.” I’m offended.

Better 6 feet apart than 6 feet under

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Works in progress

The writer

Caro Miller didn’t want anyone to question her mental health, which her mother would, if she learned her independent, successful daughter had spent the last two years with an anti-establishment, passive-aggressive creative writer, a never-published author whose piles of drivel crowded shelves, drawers and several boxes. He printed everything out, but never threw anything away.

Did she keep him around because she was afraid of being lonely, of not being loved? This thing with Wick Parker was not love. A man who loved a woman didn’t use her, tell her lies. Didn’t bring “assistants” in to type his precious works in progress. “Word processors,” Wick said. “Frees up my thinking, makes my writing more spontaneous.”

Caro had believed him, until now.

What got her attention was the skimpy panties she found under the sofa. Wick’s bizarre explanation? “Caro, love, I had to run out to the store. Maybe something weird happened when I was out.”

“Like what, Wick, some stranger came in and banged your assistant while you were gone?”

The expression of hurt on his face almost got to her. “Don’t you trust me?”

His cajoling whine was too much. Suddenly she was so angry she could hardly speak. How in hell had she allowed a culture of deceit to thrive in her home? The bitter taste of regret sickened her.

Wick, clueless as usual, went down to the pool.

Caro pulled a drawer out of the dresser. She staggered under its weight as she headed to the balcony overlooking the pool, four stories below. Wick was flirting with some girl. A light wind sent the papers she tossed over the side into a swirling spiral. The pages wafted down like leaves, falling off trees. Caro went back to get another drawer, this one full of Wick’s clothes.

This is a writing exercise from Crafty Writer in which you create a 16-line poem and a 300-word short story about something unusual seen or heard during the course of a day using 20 words based on what you heard or saw. A friend said he’d come across a link where you could see photos of people shopping in Walmart stores. It was a test of my mettle to get through the assignment (you can read the poem here). What do you think? The 20 words are: bizzare, expression, weird, mental, health, taste, mind, creative, speak, aggressive, passive, man, woman, attention, lonely, afraid, anti-establishment, angry, clueless and culture.

The weird genius habits

I am a genius. No, really, I am. According to Reader’s Digest I have seven and a half of the weird traits that secretly indicate I am smarter than the average bear. Well, they didn’t say bear, but to say what they said would be like, well, gee whiz, bragging!

First, I don’t believe for a second I’m a genius. There are way too many instances where my life would prove quite the contrary. But it’s fun to think about.

Let’s begin with the habits I don’t have. Cold showers. Really? Who wants to take cold showers? I guess the one good thing about that would be waking up really fast in the morning.

Swearing. This is sort of a half-and-half thing. I do swear, but only now and then, and when it by-damn is called for!

Habits I admit to, but see nothing weird about.Busy, busy, busy

Having a messy desk. See photo. ‘Nuff said.

Stay up late. I would stay up later, but my husband worries I’m not getting enough rest. My best and most productive writing time is in the middle of the night. No distraction. Complete silence. I can board a train of thought and ride it to the end of the line.

Talk to myself. More than I wish to admit. Dialog on the page comes alive or falls flat when spoken aloud, but it’s more than that. When I’m in the middle of a mess (writing mess) I mutter and mumble through it. “If this happens, how does it impact that? Did Joe have green eyes in chapter two and now they’re blue? What if Joe doesn’t go down that road, but takes this one instead?” I know I’ve gone from mutter and mumble to speaking voice when I hear from the living room, “Did you say something?”

“No,” I say, and return to mutter and mumble.

The sound of chewing is annoying. It can be, especially if I’m the one chewing. A sort of meditative experience for me is chewing ice, which is annoying to nearly everyone who can hear it. But the sound of chip-chewing and other crunchy foods sort of gets on my nerves as well. Again, it’s the noise in my head caused by me chewing, not other people. So this one may not apply. Maybe my genius habits only add up to seven.

Doodling. Really? This is weird? EVERYONE DOODLES!

Being self-critical. Well, I must say, this one hits the nail on the head. I won’t go into detail here, but suffice it to say I know the song and dance of all the things that are wrong with me and my work. It takes a certain amount of courage to get past personal doubt and continue to write and publish.

This is my favorite. Daydreaming. That’s the source of everything writers write. You kinda go beyond what you know, into a world where anything is possible.

In conclusion, these random weird habits hardly make me – or anyone else who has them – a genius. What it amounts to is that we are all a little flawed, which may very well contribute to creativity, and that’s okay with me.

So, from one genius to another, have a weird and wonderful day.

From the pen (keyboard) of Sharon Vander Meer

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A musing

Sharon Vander MeerThoughts on aging

I am old but it pisses me offmakes my blood boilgrinds on me… is a rude awakening when people treat me like I’m old. Even worse, I recall treating old people the same – or worse – when I was young. The following is a short list of comments I would prefer people keep to themselves.

Isn’t she sweet. Puleeze. Some of the crotchiest people I know are old and they have every right to be crotchety. Nothing works the way it used to. Sometimes peeing is the priority and there is NO BATHROOM IN SIGHT! Your kids rarely call. You spend way too much time wondering how time got away from you. The bucket list sprung a leak a long time ago and all your dreams drained away. You would be crotchety, too.

She sure is feisty. What the hell does that mean and why is is applied more often to old women than anyone else? People with a few miles on them have learned the value of persistence, hard work, dedication, and self-denial. There’s nothing “feisty” about that. It’s plain common sense.

Let me get that for you. Yes, it is nice for people to lend a helping hand, but sometimes it makes older folks feel helpless and hopeless. Age-related changes become more evident when you can’t bend over and pick up something you’ve dropped, or the door to the post office is too heavy for you to open on your own. You appreciate the courtesy of kind gestures, but it irritates you as well because someone decides you can’t do it for yourself. Go figure.

Is that appropriate attire for a woman your age? Oh, it’s never said that way outright, but subtly raised eyebrows or a snicker behind the hand conveys volumes without a word being said. I’m delighted the fashion of the ’50s that put women in house dresses with no thought to style has come and gone. Women no longer must fit a mold. I don’t care if leggings are only meant for young skinny women; I’ll wear them anyway. Life is too short to let anyone dictate one’s style.

You don’t look your age. Gloria Steinem famously said to the person who told her she didn’t look 40, “This is what 40 looks like.” This is what aging looks like. Telling someone they don’t look their age when they clearly do, is an insult. Mom used to say, “I’ve earned every wrinkle and gray hair.” So have I. Life is good, even joyful most of the time. I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. No one does. I do know I will be about the business of living fully and with anticipation. I believe that no matter what age you are, you can have hope for new adventures, even when the adventure is a trip to Charlie’s for a cup of Starbucks.

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Chicken Anyone? Not For Me!

Chicken YellYou can apply nut job to my character profile. My ever so slight wackiness has to do with food generally, and chicken in particular. This if from someone who has included chicken and eggs in meal preparation since forever.

…And then I found out chickens eat meat. Meat. Chickens eat meat. They are carnivores. AND, they eat pretty much any kind of meat – frogs, snakes, other chickens. The most alarming meat they eat is – I looked it up on Google, so it has to be true – mice. Chickens. Eat. Mice. This is information I could have done without. I am phobic about mice. I have not been able to eat chicken or anything related to chicken since I found this out. Do you have any idea how many products have chicken, eggs, or chicken products in them? A lot.

I’ve tried to reason with myself.

Sharon, you’ve eaten chicken all your life. It is no different today than it was the last time you ate it. Chicken didn’t kill you then and it won’t kill you now.

And yet, every time I lift something to my mouth that has eggs or chicken in it, I see a mouse tail trailing out of the beak of a chicken. I KNOW. It’s completely unreasonable. My husband says I’ll get over it. Maybe, but at the moment poultry of any kind is off the menu in our house.

To make matters worse, I just found out through a “Reader’s Digest” article entitled 50 Things Food Manufacturers Won’t Tell You, that the bacteria responsible for sourdough bread originally came from – GET THIS – rodent feces. Excuse me? Rodent feces?

I can live with crushed bugs – barely – providing the red color in some products. I can accept – marginally – that it’s okay for manufacturers to have up to 30 insect parts per 100 grams in peanut butter. (Before I read the article, I had just bought a 28-ounce container of JIF!) I can believe without question that labeling on products is not to be trusted. I can’t abide the idea of putting MY FAVORITE BREAD OF ALL TIME down my gullet knowing it’s “starter” involved rat shit. Sorry. Just can’t do it.

So here I am in my food fog of not knowing what to eat, because let’s face it, as my dad used to say, “If you don’t eat the food they say is bad for you, you run the risk of starving to death.” At the moment I’m eating fruits, veggies, nuts, and grains. Turns out those are all pretty good for me, so I guess that’s what I’ll be living on for now, unless of course I start obsessing about genetic changes made to seeds to enhance growth and longevity, or about the pesticides used to ward off bugs, fungi, and plant diseases of varying kinds.

Oh, Lord above, I’m going to starve to death!

I would love to say this is all tongue in cheek, but I just threw away my last loaf of sourdough bread, and I haven’t knowingly eaten anything chicken-related in nearly a month. That jar of JIF may never see the light of day.

I know, nut job, right?

Happy eating!

(Author’s note: I wrote this in June 2016 and I’m back to normal – whatever that is! Chicken and eggs are back on the Vander Meer household menu.)

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